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Check Off Everyone On Your Nice List At the Union Square Holiday Market

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Diana Denza

The chill in the air, the festive songs blaring from your roommate’s radio, and the sense of impending doom that walks hand-in-hand with finals week may all clearly signal the dawn of the holiday season. But even more than wool coats, carolers, and the mad rush to finish term papers, I know the holidays are a comin’ when those tiny red and white striped booths invade my favorite neighborhood in Manhattan.

An old friend has returned for a visit: the Union Square Holiday Market will be open to a warm welcome by previous patrons and newcomers alike-until December 24. Expect to see smiling vendors, excited children, and more garland than you thought could exist in one place.

As a proud New York native, I have toured the booths and stocked up on trinkets every year since the time I received my first allowance. This market is the perfect place to buy your relatives quirky holiday gifts they most definitely don’t need. Tibetan crafts, accessories made from recycled plastic, and hand-blown glass figurines are only a few unique gift possibilities out of the thousands of offerings from more than 100 artistic purveyors.

If you think you’ve seen it all once too many, this year’s lineup will add touches of new to your holiday shopping experience. A host of brand new vendors will be making their grand debuts this year. Dijital Fix is bringing inventive gadgets, accessories, and art supplies to add a little techno-geeky fun to the market. I, for one, am already excited about Buckyballs, a ridiculously-fun looking creation. How could one resist with a description like this: “Imagine a Rubiks Cube that actually makes you smarter; an Erector Set that never stops erecting; a Hula Hoop you don’t look ridiculous playing with; Silly Putty that isn’t silly; cram it all in a jar, turn the fun up to 11, and you’ve got Buckyballs!”

So, skip the mobs at Macy’s and the hiked-up holiday shipping charges and head downtown to this fun and festive fair! [Editor’s Note: If you’re not up for the travel downtown, be sure to check out the market just next door at Columbus Circle, also sure to feature plenty of delightful gifts!]

A Peek Inside the Messy New TJ Maxx: Just Skip It!

November 19, 2010 1 comment

Cristina Romano

Photo by Cristina Romano

If there is one thing that I love, it is a discount – especially when it comes to clothes. So, naturally I was excited about the new TJ Maxx opening last week on 57th and 8th. For months, I walked by the location and watched the construction take place, all in anticipation of the grand opening. On Friday evening, I finally went in – and was slightly disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible, but it’s just was not what I had expected based on the exterior appearance. The first floor contains a nice selection of leather and fur handbags, scarves, gloves and holiday gift items (think: massive gift baskets of moisturizer, shower gel and loofas), but stay on the first floor if you want more of a leisurely shopping experience and do not want to get trampled. This is saying a lot coming from me – I consider myself a champion shopper, unafraid to knock someone over to get to a top or a pair of shoes that I want. The second floor is not for the weak.

Once you get to the second floor of the store (should you choose to accept the challenge) it is every person for herself or himself. I couldn’t tell whether this was because other people like me were just as excited about the opening and wanted to run all around the store, or because the aisles were too small – probably a combination of both. Fair warning: if you have a large bag with you, be prepared to get angry looks from other shoppers for blocking their way from the racks to the registers.

The selection of clothing in general is hit or miss, and does not seem to be organized at all. There were random kids clothes thrown in the men’s section, and the women’s jeans selection seemed as though it had been rifled through for months. Overall, it was one big mess. Not to mention, the store is already filthy – how does that happen when it has only been open a week? You would never know this store just celebrated its grand opening.

Verdict: Skip it. I know one thing, I will not be returning to the TJ Maxx on 57th and 8th unless I really, really, really need to for some odd circumstance – like if I need a 50 pound shower gel/moisturizer/loofa basket set for my bathroom.

For better deals head to Loehmann’s on 2101 Broadway (at 74th St) I swear by it. While you are there, sign up for their insider gold card to get a 10% discount every time you shop. You will not be disappointed by the selection – especially in the Back Room. Think: designers such as Marc by Marc Jacobs and Dolce and Gabbana for an H+M price. Shopping at TJ Maxx felt like I was cheating on Loehmann’s, and I have learned my lesson to never do it again.

Make a One-Stop Shop for the Holidays in Bryant Park

November 10, 2010 Leave a comment
Diana Denza
Now you can get an head start on your holiday shopping at The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park, which opened to the public on November 5 and will last until mid January. The vendors are welcoming and the merchandise for sale is both creative and festive. The shops are a great way to spend a few guilt-free hours of checking your parents and siblings off that holiday list.
Handmade ornaments, scarves, and hats would be perfect for mom and dad, while younger siblings’ hearts will melt when they open a box of chocolate from Max Brenner. This chocolate giant’s booth is particularly exciting, with sales associates offering free samples of chocolate bars and chocolate covered walnuts. I treated myself to a gooey chocolate chip walnut cookie, which was so warm and delightful I couldn’t even feel the autumn chill in the air.
As I toured the shops, I noticed that the price of a handmade knit hat at several of the booths was comparable to a similar hat off the shelf of Urban Outfitters. And don’t worry, they are exceedingly more stylish than those crazy knit hats your grandmother sent last year. Finding unique gifts that won’t break the bank and skipping those insane store lines? You can count me in.
And if you can’t seem to quit that ‘been there, done that’ mentality you’ve developed from being dragged to one too many holiday stands, there are plenty of worthy new vendors that will gouge your interest. New to the market is Soap Creek, a seller of luxurious artisan goodies. You can keep a special someone smelling fresh and feeling good, or just keep them for yourself. Either way, the bath salts and exfoliating scrubs smell delicious. If you’re a major foodie, you should walk right over to brand new Daisy’s Grits for a bowl of savory, steaming hot grits. They come in fun flavors like Ball Park Hot Dog and Hong Kong Spinach. And if you’ve been desperately searching for a gift for older relatives (because you’ve been giving them mugs and dish towels for the past five years), look no farther than Wells-Ware, a new booth where you can drop off some adorable family photos to have etched onto charms.
The official shop hours are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Don’t save holiday shopping for the day before Christmas. Maybe you’ve miraculously pulled off an A on your last paper that you wrote just hours before it was due, but your family members won’t appreciate old socks in their stockings.

McMahon’s Washdog to the Rescue!

November 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Diana Denza

Have you ever forgotten laundry in one of McMahon’s washing machines, only to come back 3 hours later and find it piled atop a washer in a sopping wet ball? Even if you’re on top of your loads, I’m sure you’ve had times when you lugged two laundry bags full of clothes all the way to the laundry room, only to find that every machine was taken.

Now, you just might be able to avoid the frustration with Washdog, a new Web site that allows you to “check in” your laundry online. The site works like this: laundry-doers can head over to http://www.watchdoglc.com and use the box located at the right of the page to choose a laundry room floor and number of washing machines they plan to use. There is even an option to allow the site to send you a text when your load is done. The site is also available to iPhone users, so if you’re on the go, you’ll know when to skip leaving the library early to do that month old pile of laundry you shoved under your bed.

In theory, this could be a great way for people to keep track of their laundry and could save all students some unneeded headaches and disappointing trips to a full laundry room. Here’s the main hurdle: everyone who uses the washers has to check-in for the site to work effectively. When I visited the site, I noticed that no one else had checked in their laundry on the 16th floor, even though every washer but one was in use.

It would be amazing if a kiosk could be installed outside of McMahon’s three laundry rooms so students can check their laundry in on the spot. Until then, do your fellow students a favor and check-in when you get back to your room. It literally takes two seconds. The site is simple, easy to load, and doesn’t require a registration process.

As for me, I just received a text telling me to pick up my laundry. Reminders can’t come any easier than that.

Doing What We Do Best: Facebooking and Saving Money

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Fatima Shabbir

College students are forced, by default, to look for bargains. Luckily, I’ve done some of the hunting for you, and the savings come from a domain we know best–Facebook!

“Like” Gap on Facebook, get 10% off your purchase.

http://www.facebook.com/gap

Also, today is the last day to save 30% by recycling your old denim at any Gap Store. These offers can be combined! Get there now. The nearest Gap locations are on Broadway between 67th and 68th Streets, and 57th and 8th.

“Like” White Castle on Facebook, get a free garlic cheese slider.

http://www.facebook.com/WhiteCastle?v=app_167182587201

The nearest White Castle is on 8th Avenue and 37th Street.

Looking for something different? Try these non-Facebook deals:

Michaels is offering free classes and demos in time for Halloween:

http://www.michaels.com/Store-Events/store-events,default,pg.html

Scrapbooking Discovery Day, Duct Tape Costume Demo, Great Pumpkin Event, Bead Night, and free “make it and take it” crafts.  Check their website for more details. Michael’s is located on 99th and Columbus.

Free Halloween e-cookbook from favediets.com with healthy treats to spice up your Halloween night! – http://www.favediets.com/Halloween-Recipes/How-to-Make-Fun-Foods-for-Halloween-22-Healthy-Halloween-Recipes-Free-eCookbook#

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Fatima Shabbir

People get different things out of their internships. I didn’t get much out of my last one, except that the walk down to 57th Street to get there turned me on to a great new shopping experience.  I discovered my new go-to store for all things with an eclectic and Asian flare. “Backwoods” is conveniently located a few blocks from the Fordham campus between 8th and 9th Avenues on 57th Street, and brings all things East, to us here in the heart of Manhattan.

The store is beautiful and colorful in itself, and as soon as you walk in, you will are greeted with calm and meditational music, enough to make a hard day of work or school disappear.  This store is for the eclectic, colorful, Fung Shui, East meets West, Zen, vibrant, hippy kind of person.  I’m telling you, there is something in there for everyone, as long as you appreciate global and cultural diversity, and are willing to try something different.

The store carries beautiful art sculptures and occasional artwork of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. They are fully stocked in all accessories, ranging from necklaces, to earrings, bracelets, rings and even hand and shoulder bags.  If this doesn’t sound good enough, they also carry a wide variety of clothing; from summer dresses, to winter sweaters and the likes (of course everything is seasonal), not to mention the stores wide selection of Pashmini scarves during the winter that I absolutely love!  And to top it all off, their prices are really reasonable, since many Fordham students like myself unfortunately are always on a tight budget.  There are constantly $5-$10 sales on jewelry, scarves clothing, and gift items, like picture frames, shawls, throws, pillows, incents, and so much more.  But once you see something you really like, you should buy it because the store constantly has new inventory different from the last, and it changes frequently.

Since the store is so small, the staff has the opportunity to help everyone and remember their tastes, and they are super helpful and courteous!  So for Christmas shopping, I know where I’m going! Check it out; I’m sure there will be something there for everyone’s style and taste.

Coming to an Avenue Near You!

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Katie Berry

If you walk a mere three blocks from Fordham Lincoln Center Campus, it seems as though 57th street to 55th street, along 8th avenue, is under construction! The good news is, in about two months, when everything is done, there will be great new places for Fordham students to explore! From fashionistas to foodies, there is something to satisfy all Fordham students’ diverse tastes.

Photo by Katie Berry.

For the bargain shoppers, a T.J. Maxx is coming right to 250 West 57th Street. The Grand Opening will be held on November 11 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Be sure to stock up for fall with cardigans, boots, and skinny jeans, all at prices that won’t make your wallet skinny!

Photo by Katie Berry.

If you walk down the block, Huey’s 24/7 Diner is opening soon! Huey’s 24/7 Diner is a chain restaurant that started in New Orleans. This place offers all the traditional favorites synonymous with a diner; great sandwiches, omelets served all day and large portions of fries. In addition to the classics, Huey’s 24/7 Diner will be serving up New Orleans inspired shrimp dishes and jambalaya. This could rival Fordham’s favorite, The Flame, for best diner in the area! Plus, too many late night appearances can become embarrassing; it’s good to switch it up!

Photo by Katie Berry.

Directly across the street from Huey’s, another new place by the name of Bread & Honey is in the works. Not much seems to be known about it, but check it out here on ZagatBuzz: http://blog.zagat.com/bread-honey-coming-to-midtown. Be sure to keep an eye out for these new places coming to an avenue near you!